Learning From The Past

The Rangers have been in Texas for 41 years and a lot has happened since Opening Day 1972. From those early days, one date stands out to the older fans of the team and to those who are younger, but appreciate the history: June 27, 1973. This date, I’d like to think, impacted the way the club chooses to handle rookie players going forward, especially pitchers. 
David Clyde was an 18 year old pitcher from Houston, Texas. He was drafted first overall by the Rangers in the 1973 draft, not long after his high school graduation. Upon the signing of his contract, it was stipulated that Clyde was to make two starts in Arlington before heading to the minor leagues. He did so well in those two starts, that then owner Bob Short decided to keep him up and in the rotation for good. He went 4-8 with a 5.01 ERA, but soon developed arm troubles over the next couple of seasons. In the end, Clyde left baseball at the age of 26, having suffered enough injuries to warrant the much too early departure.

Clyde’s career is interesting in that some affiliated with that 1973 team spoke of regretting how they handled Clyde overall. Whitey Herzog, then manager, even went as far as to say he wishes he would have stood up to Short and let Clyde develop in the minors properly. These days, I can’t think of one front office who would do that to a player. I know some clubs have recently called up the likes of Wacha, Gausman and Wood, but for extremely brief stints and with little pressure on them at this stage (they have had at least one season under the guidance of minor league coaching as well). The Rangers will probably never be that bold again, even if the fans would like it every now and then.

I’m anxious to see CJ Edwards and Luke Jackson keep developing, but they can’t help yet. I am more than anxious to see Joey Gallo, Lewis Brinson and Jorge Alfaro up in Arlington… but those three still need time. Hickory is doing their part by getting Edwards ready for the potential postseason by not overworking him and gently guiding him through pitching over a long season of baseball. Same with the three hitters mentioned; they are still developing their MLB eyes at this point. They’re learning important skills on offense and defense that many players just don’t have “MLB ready” when they come off of the board.

My point in all this is to learn from the past. A kid fresh off the draft board will not have nearly the stuff he will if he’s guided and developed in a good system. It’s easy to look at the woes of the MLB team, see the ridiculous numbers from Hickory and think “Why are they there? Bring ‘em up!” Unlike Bob Short, the front office of 2013 is not worried about selling tickets. They’re more concerned with keeping the product fresh and exciting for many years to come, even if it means keeping a player in a certain part of the farm to ensure they are completely ready for the next level. This even applies to the likes of Mike Olt, who truly does look like he’s back on track in Round Rock. He’ll get back to learning RF when they feel his basic hitting skills and fielding skills at 3B are all 100% back in line (a fact I have to remind myself of on occasion).

Thanks, as always, for reading, and go Rangers. 

Sarah Powers is a Staff Writer for ShutDowninning.com. She can be reached at sarah.powers@shutdowninning.com or on Twitter @Power_Play86.
Sarah Powers

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